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We must respect one another

To the Editor,

I have never been very political. I am 59, Roman Catholic and come from a devout Irish family whose grandfather, father and brother served in law enforcement. I was brought up Democrat, raised to respect my faith, my family and my country.

What guides my vote more than anything is I am pro-life, which is not simply being anti-abortion. Being pro-life is a school of thought which I choose to live by. Basically, life matters to me. All life, from conception to natural death, matters to me. Respecting the life of every human being of every race, creed and color matters to me. That is being pro-life.

What I see in our society is a basic lack of respect for life in general, as well as an intolerance for varying thought. We have seen the disrespect of others during the summer’s riots and looting as well as the attack on the Capitol. Without respect for one another, nothing can be accomplished –no sharing of ideas, no “aha” moments, no real progress made toward any common goal. Being respectful to one another means we recognize the need for every American to be heard. Americans are afforded this right through the First Amendment. Opinions are not right or wrong, and free people are allowed to have theirs. I cannot tell you how many times I have said to my more liberal friends (and yes, they are still my friends), that we just need to agree to disagree. Even if I don’t understand their thinking, I respect their right to think it, and I certainly don’t hate them because of it.

Our First Amendment gives all Americans freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right to peaceably assemble and redress grievances. Big tech is leading the effort to cancel these rights. The threat to our freedom of speech is real and cannot be ignored. For our First Amendment to be respected and serve its intended purpose, there must be zero tolerance for any speech that promotes violence or hatred for any reason. This must be applied to Democrats and Republicans equally or it loses all meaning. Violent dissent is unacceptable in America.

Our elected officials must get back to discussing issues, outlining their agenda for our country and stop personal attacks which cause nothing but hatred and division. Martin Luther King Jr. said it best — “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It’s time for everyone to reject hate in all its forms.

President Reagan’s thoughts on freedom must also be noted: “Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than a generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance, it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again.”

America, are we willing to take that chance?

Sis Richardson

Wheeling

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